Big Block Generations
The Big Block was our first model, designed way back in 2008 and continuing virtually unchanged today. Well unchanged in geometry and tubeset anyway, there have been a number of small tweaks to the bike over the years that would allow one to distinguish one generation frameset from the next. As we're giant flipping nerds, having the information to tell them apart is the sort of thing that we find terribly exciting. What follows is our attempt to pass that arcane knowledge onto you.
Let's start with Big Block prototype numero uno as it still appears often in our social feeds. It has been in service as Jeff's dedicated winter bike since 2009 and is rusty as all get out, but still going strong.
Big Block Proto #1
This bike was created as a geometry test mule and show bike for Frostbike 2009. As it was done in a hurry, it has a water jet cut dropout without chain tensioners instead of our signature investment cast piece. Testing this bike showed that a few improvements could be made so we decided to lower the standover height for production and to raise the water bottle mounts to make it easier to fetch a drink between whirling legs.
prototype waterjet cut dropout
First Generation Production
The first generation Big Block came to market in December 2009 and were available as black with white tips framesets or red with white tips completes and featured the cast version of the Hennepin Bridge dropout with chain tensioners which we still use today. Note the squared off finishing work on the stays…
Available in 2011 the second generation frames were available as a complete in Shelby Silver or as a frameset in a solid sparkle white. During the creation of the Nature Boy frameset we developed a much more attractive round stay-capping procedure which then showed up on the second generation Big Blocks and can be seen below. Pretty noticeable improvement when contrasted with the previous incarnation.
Available in 2013 as a gold complete or as a frameset in Sir Elton Lavender or 5th Anniversary fade. An important update to the dropout happened as we filled in the lower window to make the dropout stronger and less succeptible to pedal fatigue. If you check out the image of the purple frameset below you'll also notice that the seat collar now as a point on it. During the development of the Space Horse we decided to use this slightly more ornate version and it was added to the Big Block as soon as feasible.
These came out in 2014 and were the first time our signature brazed on seat collar was added to the bike. Both the framesets and completes were painted the lovely Azure blue color.
We recently dropped the 5th gen Big Block in the lovely Bass Boat Black paint job that is stunning in person and dang hard to capture in a photograph. This version of the Big Block has a change to the dropout area as we had to make a hard decision. With the price of silver brazing going way the heck up, do we swap to a cro-moly dropout that would be brass brazed or do we stick with our stainless and move to tig welding. Which would affect the user and aesthetics of the bike more? We chose to keep the stainless as we are way into not having gouges and such from axle nuts on our track bikes, and while you can barely see the welds on the ends of the stays, losing that raw metal would be pretty dang noticeable.
So there you have it, a step by step guide to the evolution of our flagship track model, the first and still the only track bike to have true velodrome geometry and 32c tire clearance to tackle anything that you might encounter from day to day or season to season. Our company mission is “To make a significant contribution to the culture and machinery of urban cycling” and few bikes embody that spirit more than the Big Block. It was and still is, one of a kind.